Henry Louis Gates Jr. (courtesy of PBS).
The extent to which Americans are willing to face the truth of the past–in the fullness of its tragedy and triumph–is the extent to which there’s hope that society can collectively achieve freedom and liberation. This is especially relevant for our understanding of the history of the post-Civil War period known as the Reconstruction Era, which lasted from 1863, the date of the Emancipation Proclamation, until 1877, when federal troops left southern states.
Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. examines Reconstruction’s history and its meaning today in his latest historical project. He recently published Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow in conjunction with the companion documentary Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, which premiered in April. He also collaborated with accomplished children’s author Tonya Bolden to produce a young adult book, Dark Sky Rising:…
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